Climate change has set in, and the lashing rains of fifteen years ago is a past story. people are seeing that even the existing RWH structures are not filling up. RWH, without collective control on groundwater use is not valid.
People are suggesting plastic lines water ponds in their fields, rather than structures that recharge groundwater so that their cattle may at least have some water through the summer.
… With backs to the wall, the farmers are all coming together for meetings and plans. Anchored by Uma and Nagesh and Krisnamurthy and others, regular discussions are widening to include collective control of water usage - something that would have been unthinkable some years ago
This meeting was in Uma and Naren's house where people from the caste village and Dalitwada came together for the sccreening of Hiwre Bazar, and for discussions .
We all had long discussions, and people want work desperately. Many have exhausted the NREGA 100 days, and anyway the ground is so hard now that few are anymore able to do crowbar work. When our imagination fails, theirs also fails. One of the two functioning bores across the whole panchayat has failed, and water is being transported at 15 pots per family on alternate days. The cows are thirsty, and there is no grass. People who can afford have bought groundnut leaf from Kalahasti at 9000/- per tractor. That will keep body and soul together for two cows at home for 6 months with difficulty. The economics will not work out, but at least families which have only this as an asset will not lose this also. There are twenty cow owning families in the harijan hamlet of the panchayat, and totally fifty cows.
Discussions with the collector helped to focus on the government schemes possible. There is very little. Some feed is sanctioned for the pregnant cows and calves upto 6 months. Too little, too late, when all cows are starved, and going to be marched to slaughter.
The owner of the one functioning bore in the panchayat is refusing to sell water to the tanker as his trees are dying. The mandal officers forced him onto the discussion table.
The district is not mentioned as drought affected in government records !!